Why size matters
Bastienne Wentzel

Being a lightweight pilot in paragliding is a disadvantage. It's no myth that the smallest paragliders fly worse than larger ones. Some competitions such as the BGD Weightless even have a separate ranking for light pilots for this reason.
But recreational pilots struggle as well. Reader Angela Bonato ("considered lightweight by most wing manufacturers") emailed us: "I unfortunately only fly with much heavier guys and at almost every flight I have the feeling we flew in a very different air from what they say to me."
Lightweight competition- and ex-test pilot Joanna diGrigoli can fully relate. Among other wings, she flies an XS EN-B glider below mid-weight range. "I feel light against the wind. It has no bite." On a lightly loaded glider it can be harder to enter thermals, Joanna says. "But the main problem is into wind."

This article was published in Cross Country magazine #246, December 2023.